Monday Kickoff: Suarez wins POY award; Dani Alves suffers racist abuse; and more

Monday Kickoff: Suarez wins POY award; Dani Alves suffers racist abuse; and more

South American Soccer

Monday Kickoff: Suarez wins POY award; Dani Alves suffers racist abuse; and more

Luis Suarez of Liverpool gives a thumbs up

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

Less than one year after being booed at the Professional Footballers’ Association awards dinner following his ten-match FA ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic, Liverpool’s Luis Suarez received a standing ovation to accept an individual honor.

The Uruguayan forward was awarded the PFA Player of the Year award for leading Liverpool to the brink of the English Premier League title and scoring 30 goals in 31 league matches. Eden Hazard of Chelsea was awarded the Young Player of the Year award.

Suarez was joined by Liverpool teammates Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard on the PFA Team of the Year. Also included are Petr Cech, Luke Shaw, Vincent Kompany, Gary Cahill, Seamus Coleman, Eden Hazard, Yaya Toure, and Adam Lallana.

Here are some more stories to start off your week:

DANI ALVES RECEIVES ABUSE, WORLD STANDS BEHIND HIM

Barcelona right back Dani Alves was the subject once more of racist abuse on Sunday and this time he took matters into his own hands.

The Brazilian speedster was getting set to take a corner kick during Barcelona’s 3-2 victory at Villarreal when a fan threw a banana at him. Instead of losing his cool, Alves peeled the banana, took a bite, and went off to take the corner kick and get back to action, not letting the abuses get to him.

In response, many players and entities around the world have backed Alves against any kind of racist abuse. Barcelona released a statement in defense of Alves.

“FC Barcelona wishes to express its complete support and solidarity with our first team player Dani Alves, following the insults he was subject to from a section of the crowd at El Madrigal on Sunday during the game against Villarreal,” the statement reads. “FC Barcelona accepts that the perpetrators of these insults are in no way connected to Villarreal and we value very positively the support the club offered to our player. The club’s immediate condemnation of the incidents is a step in the right direction to firstly isolate and then eradicate completely from the sporting arena this kind of behavior.”

MAN UNITED CLOSING IN ON VAN GAAL

Manchester United have identified a handful of candidates to take the club forward into next season, and leading the charge is current Netherlands National Team manager Louis Van Gaal.

The Dutchman is reportedly keen on the job and ready to return to club management. According to the latest reports, Man United are hoping to agree a deal with Van Gaal by the end of this week to become the club’s next manager.

Prior to taking the Netherlands job, Van Gaal was the manager at both Barcelona (twice), Bayern Munich, Ajax, AZ Alkmaar, and the Netherlands again from 2000-2002.

Van Gaal begins his official World Cup preparations on May 7, and Man United want a deal to be completed before then.

QUICK KICKS

The Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba staged their second test match in front of nearly 18,000 people, as the Local Organizing Committee tested a number of the stadium aspects to ensure their feasibility during the World Cup. (REPORT)

Diego Forlan scored twice for Cerezo Osaka to take his season-tally to five goals. (REPORT)

Bayern Munich reserve Xherdan Shaqiri could be on his way to Sevilla as a replacement for Ivan Rakitic, who is rumored to be leaving this summer. (REPORT)

Alessandro Del Piero has turned down the chance to become Sydney FC’s next coach as he released a statement on his website saying he and his family would be leaving Australia for destinations unknown. (REPORT)

Uruguayan club Peñarol enjoyed their largest ever derby win against Nacional when they won, 5-0, on Sunday. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you agree with Suarez winning Player of the Year? Shocked at the racist abuse hurled at Dani Alves? Think that Van Gaal can lead Man United back to the UEFA Champions League?

Share your thoughts below.

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